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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

First Staff Shake-Up At Guv's Office; Brian Moore Out; Headed To DC, Plus: More On Susana And The Supremes, Also: News From The Alligator Gravpevine 

Brian Moore
We're getting word of what will be seen as the first staff shake-up for Governor Martinez. Reliable Alligators and wall-leaners report that Deputy Chief of Staff Brian Moore is gone from the Fourth Floor of the Roundhouse to run the state's office in Washington, D.C.

Moore, a former GOP state legislator from Clayton and a 2010 GOP lieutenant governor candidate, is said to have signed on for a six month stint at the state office, but his departure means it is unlikely he will ever return to Martinez's inner circle.

For several months insiders have said Moore has not been happy with the way things have turned out for him under Martinez. He was seen as being excluded from the power circle and his legislative experience under utilized. His relationship with Guv chief of staff, Keith Gardner, another former GOP legislator, has also been the subject of intense scrutiny.

Moore is a respected figure on both the Dem and R side of the aisle, earning a reputation for reasonableness during his 10 years of House service. After the Guv's latest defeat before the NM Supreme Court last week we asked where Moore was in providing some experienced leadership, but in the hothouse partisan atmosphere of Santa Fe his services, as they say, "are no longer required." No word on who, if anyone, will take Moore's place as deputy chief of staff.

We also note that Matt Kennicott, who started out as director of policy and planning for Martinez, has now moved to the Human Services Department as communications director. He previously worked with the New Mexico House Republican Caucus and left in 2010 to become Martinez's director of campaign operations. Kennicott is also a former executive director of the NM GOP and once worked with the Republican National Committee.

DEFENDING SUSANA

Now some push back to our contention--and that of others--that Martinez erred in how she handled the challenge to her partial veto that was declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court. It comes from a Santa Fe Legal Beagle:

Joe, you blogged:

"She lost Wednesday defending a partial veto, something earlier Governors had done, but she decided to press the matter in court. When she lost, she lost a negotiating tool for herself and all future Governors."

The case was brought by legislators. Are you therefore saying she didn't roll over when it was filed? She didn't ask for the case--and as for others having done one-digit line item vetos, your story was not exactly square with the evidence. The last time anyone could show a Guv "scaling" down an appropriation was, according to the briefs, 1941. No mention of crossing out one number was made, so that seems like a new thing. It has been done in other states with line-item vetoes and similar Constitutional provisions. It just didn't fly here. The line-item veto is not lost to Susana nor any other Governor. It was determined the single-digit veto was not acceptable...

We respect that view, but these are as much as political decisions as legal ones. We continue to believe Martinez, by losing three cases in a row before the Supreme Court, ultimately weakens her governorship--and those in the future. We did not want to see her "roll over" but negotiate her way to a win with the Legislature. She didn't and she lost. Why not just veto the entire appropriation in the first place, instead of striking a single number out? As we blogged originally: Advantage Legislature.

"THE LIST"

Some 1,400 customers of a busted call girl web site that snared former UNM President Chris Garcia can continue to breathe easy about their names being made public. Many of the customers of the Southwest Companions site are from the ABQ/Santa Fe area, say police. But police also tell reporter Peter St. Cyr their identities--for now--are protected.

APD Lt. Tim Gonterman responded this way to the journalist's request for the list under provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA):

I was advised that due to the evidentiary nature of this request, the Attorney Generals office has declared this material exempt from public records requests at this time.

Garcia faces charges of promoting prostitution.

SUSANA'S TRAVEL

Those insisting on reading the tea leaves in a way that keeps Gov. Martinez pursuing a spot on the 2012 national GOP ticket have some additional fodder:

Gov. Martinez was in Mexico on Saturday to meet with the governor of Sonora and discuss the future of the relationship between the border states. Martinez's staff says the two sides are looking at ways to improve the region's economy and overcome common challenges, such as crime and border violence...

Is she buffing up her foreign policy credentials or doing something a New Mexico Governor naturally does. Or both?


FIRE WATCH

Yes, there is a political angle to fire-fighting, as we learn from this emailer watching with interest the state's efforts to combat the flames
:

I wonder if the
state environment department is ready for what looks like a very dangerous fire near Los Alamos Labs? The new administration has shuffled several of their key fire emergency response people (former Hazardous Waste Bureau Chief James Bearzi and Air Bureau Chief Mary Uhl) to lower profile bureaus. These are the folks who served through and learned the lessons of the catastrophic Cerro Grande fire that struck Los Alamos in 2000. Might this be a case of the Martinez Administration cutting off their nose to spite the face (and safety) of New Mexico?

Susana has been to the Los Alamos fire site. Our emailer is right that her performance--and the state's--will be closely watched during what is turning out to be a blistering fire season.

ALLIGATOR GRAPEVINE

The Alligators confirmed last week that former ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez will be seeking the Dem nomination for the ABQ US House seat, so when will he make a formal entry. The answer, say the Gators, is sometime this week....ABQ Police Chief Ray Schultz was enjoying a leisurely dinner at Saggio's Italian restaurant near UNM when he was interrupted by news that there had been yet another shooting involving an APD officer. Schultz rushed from the restaurant and to the scene. He took his dinner to go....

And what lousy timing that shooting was--if there could ever be good timing. It came only hours after the release of an outside report that urged changes in procedure when police are faced with the deadly force option. The big water-cooler talk was how the police--exercising new caution following 18 police shootings in 18 months--twice shot a taser at the suspect, but it did not stop him from charging at them with a bayonet. He was then brought down with four bullets and is listed in stable condition. Was this guy the man or steel or does someone need to take a look at what kind of tasers taxpayers are paying for? Just asking....

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